10th Anniversary for the National Centre for Mental Health (NCMH)
On 12th October 2021 NCMH marked ten years of mental health research with a special afternoon of webinars chaired by the Welsh National Centre for Mental Health director Professor Ian Jones.
The Centre for Mental Health and Society (CFMHAS) at Bangor University works in close partnership with NCMH. The co-directors of CFMHAS, Rob Poole and Peter Huxley, are Co-PIs and members of the core team at NCMH. CFMAS has a particular emphasis on social aspect of mental health and service user and career involvement in research.
Attendees were updated on a range of topics from the history of NCMH, to the challenges facing mental health research in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the future of NCMH.
Over 50 people joined the online series of talks.
Mental health research and the impact of COVID-19
Professor Jones began the talks with an overview of the NCMH work from the last ten years and how COVID-19 forced changes to practices:
“If you had to summarise what NCMH is mainly about, it’s the link between the research community and mental health in Wales and the NHS, to people with lived experience, to conditions that we study and to the wider Welsh public for a range of activities, including recruiting for studies.”
“COVID-19 has meant that our recruitment in our studies has been impacted and paused, but it has also given us some other opportunities, to look and conduct research to address the impact that COVID-19 has had on people with a history of mental illness. Over 3,000 people helped with those studies.”
Professor Jones discussed the results of NCMH’s COVID-19 study.
Dr. Anne Krayer took over to talk about examples of research work in the Centre for Mental Health and Society (Bangor University) and the importance of multi-disciplinary leadership of mental health research.
Professor Ann John of Swansea University highlighted the importance of routinely-collected data to provide a voice for those less likely to participate in surveys, noting that they’re often from poorer backgrounds.
An exciting future ahead in research
NCMH deputy director Professor Jon Bisson then talked about the development of new treatments and resources within mental health and NCMH’s connections to realise future plans:
“What we’re aiming to do within NCMH is to increase our applied research portfolio. We want to take some of the findings we get from our epidemiological and data linkage work and think how we could use some of that information to better develop and design interventions that can really make a difference to people in the future.”
Dr. Sarah Rees and Alan Meudell emphasised the importance of public involvement in research before Dr Steve Beyer updated on Learning Disability Wales’ progress and how it’s contributing to helping people with learning disabilities secure employment.
The afternoon ended with a Q&A session with our panel, followed by each of their thoughts on the future of mental health research.
Ending with what the panel are most excited about for the future of mental health research, Alan said, “The biggest challenge is increasing the number of opportunities for people to be involved in research, and solving that problem is what gets me up in the morning.”
Watch the full webinar: https://youtu.be/A_0syeA4oOg